Photo reportage from the exhibition 'Navigation' at the Arka Gallery

June 21, 2021
Author Echo Gone Wrong

From June 11, the LAA Gallery Arka presents the exhibition of scenography and theatre art, titled Navigation.

Presenting the project, the curator of the exhibition Raimonda Bitinaitė-Širvinskienė says that this exhibition is the embodiment of the search for a landmark in the changed reality of the present, of wandering around an unfamiliar field, in a work of art. The opening of the exhibition was prompted by the anticipation of the world forum of scenographers Prague Quadrennial 2023 and the restrictions caused by the pandemic, the inevitable changes in the creative process of artists, and the loss of signs for orientation in an open environment.

The exhibition, using the practice of navigation, offers to consider one of the most complicated fields of art: scenography. To look at it as an exclusive field of creative communication, as a complex creative sphere of the practice of the art profession and the constant sharing of knowledge with each other and with other artists. It proposes to discover how different and individual the view and creative style of each collective art creator is, how necessary it is to share and reveal that style separately.

The authors of the exhibition are renowned, brilliant, contemporary, and productive artists working in a variety of theater genres. They speak openly about relevant and universal topics, provoking the viewer to engage. Renata Valčik is the creator of integrated “ecoscenography”, performance, costume, and light design, applying various digital technologies; Artūras Šimonis is an artist of applied scenography, video installations, lights, and costumes; and Irma Balakauskaitė is an independent representative of the “artist’s theater” who stands out in her artistic practice with unique creation of mechanical objects. All three authors share creative versatility and the search for an artist’s theater, all have tried directing, all use a variety of materials in their work, manipulate several areas and techniques of art, and are experimental, but different, artists. As circumstances changed, these scenographers undertook a free interpretation of the work of literature, emphasizing its unlimited change, the role of a viewer replacing the acting of an actor, and the possibility of transformation of a simple household object. The exhibition aims to present this to the viewer in the common and individual exhibition spaces of each artist. The authors of the exhibition discuss the relationship with their profession, the theater stage, the practice of collaboration between independent creators and a relationship with other creators, and explore the changed reality of the present and its meanings.

The artists’ expositions combine and sequence new as well as previously in performances used objects, video installations, sculptural figures, costumes, objects and sounds accompanying them, texts, and sketches created during the preparatory stage of scenography. A narrative connecting different stories is created, setting the route for the process of creating scenography in the exhibition.

Combinations of different works, glossy surfaces of reflections, the relationship of different textures and incomplete forms, and various materials creatively reveal the false illusory reality close to the current state. The exhibition features many external irritants, obstacles, riddles, and traps that provoke the viewer’s courage and ingenuity. The spectator of the exhibition is encouraged to navigate in space, relying on natural senses: hearing, sight, touch, to experience the cognition and discovery of the artistic signs of the wrong path.

Gallery Arka is very suitable for implementing the idea. Rooms of different sizes and shapes positioned in a circle, bounded by stairs, interfering openings, and balconies allow to create a complex, awkward labyrinth-like path, which begins and ends with a map that allows the viewer to check whether their senses could be trusted, whether the goal has been reached: has the entire route been taken, has nothing been missed, or is it worth returning in the opposite direction to confirm the power of the constant change of creation.

Exhibition curator: Dr Raimonda Bitinaitė-Širvinskienė

Authors of the exhibition: Irma Balakauskaitė, Renata Valčik, Artūras Šimonis

We thank Saulius Valius, Diana Radavičiūtė, Emilis Šeputis, Paulius Kilbauskas, Aldona Vilutytė, Tomoo Nagai, Vaiva Lanskoronskytė, Žilvinas Pūtys, Livijo Kozuchar, Jonas Balakauskas, Kunotas Vildžiūnas, Gediminas Akstinas, Kazimieras Sližys, Severija Paukštytė for their contribution to the implementation of the project.

The exhibition at the Gallery Arka will run until July 15.

Sponsors: Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Artists’ Association, Association LATGA
Partners: Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum, Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania, Lithuanian State Youth Theatre

Photography: Giedrius Akelis